Musica Sacra Begins Season with Haydn’s Powerful “Mass in Time of War”

Artistic Director Timothy L. McDonald has selected Franz Joseph Haydn’s foreboding yet joyous “Mass in Time of War” as the centerpiece of Musica Sacra Chorus and Orchestra’s season opener, 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at St. Francis Xavier Church. Haydn’s “Mass in Time of War” is considered one of the most colorful and exhilarating sacred choral masterworks ever composed. At the time of its writing in 1796, Haydn was at the peak of his musical creativity and had established himself as one of Europe’s premier composers. The Austrian composer and his countrymen were also sharing a collective unease over the threatening advances of Napoleon’s invading forces, inspiring the composition’s name. The music displays a sophistication not found in Haydn’s previous Mass settings. The orchestral writing is much more independent of the vocal parts. Haydn even opens the “Kyrie” with a slow introduction, a technique he regularly employed in the first movements of his late symphonies. Also on the program is Francesco Durante’s “Short Vespers.” Durante was recognized as one of Naples’ leading composers in the first half of the 18th century. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he chose sacred music instead of opera as his primary focus of composition. Live Program Notes about the concert begins at 6:15 p.m. St. Francis Xavier Church is located at 52nd and Troost Avenue in midtown Kansas City. Concert tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. A subscription to all four concerts is available for $55, or $35 for students and seniors. Tickets are available through the Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222, at or at the performance. About Rockhurst Rockhurst University is one of 28 Catholic, Jesuit universities in the United States. It challenges students to become leaders while providing a supportive environment for intellectual and personal growth. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Rockhurst among the top Midwest Regional Universities. Rockhurst is the only institution in the Kansas City area to have earned the community engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Learn more at

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